Football: Novice Naylor rises above farce

Wolverhampton W 3 Charlton Athletic 0
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The Independent Online
On a night when errors littered Molineux like so many shredded newspapers, Wolves claimed the dubious privilege of a fifth-round FA Cup visit to Wimbledon by virtue of committing fewer than their First Division promotion rivals Charlton.

Three goals, including one by the 17-year-old Lee Naylor, settled a niggly game of seven bookings and one dismissal, Charlton's Mark Bright becoming the eighth player this season to be shown the red card by Graham Poll.

Charlton, who last won at Wolves in 1953 courtesy of a Billy Wright own goal, may have sensed early on that their luck was not about to change. After only six minutes they lost Matty Holmes with a suspected broken leg after a fierce challenge by Kevin Muscat, which Mr Poll did not deem a foul. Midway through the first half, they saw headers by Steve Jones and Bright kicked off the line in quick succession by Don Goodman and Keith Curle.

Then, on the half hour, before Andy Petterson had made a single save, Wolves went ahead. A mix-up between the Charlton goalkeeper and Mark Kinsella allowed Dougie Freedman to steal the ball. Although the striker had his back to goal, Andy Petterson brought him down, allowing Curle to score from the spot.

Charlton's woes were compounded at every turn. Steve Jones, one on one with Mike Stowell after brushing off Steve Sedgley, shot against a post.

Wolves doubled their lead within four minutes of the restart from their first effort on target in open play. Goodman broke through Mark Bowen's feeble tackle and crossed to the far post, where Naylor headed emphatically beyond Petterson.

Further farcical defending put the outcome beyond doubt in the 67th minute. Freedman's low cross appeared to offer Phil Chapple a routine clearance, but he missed the ball completely. Mixu Paatelainen suppressed his surprise long enough to stroke home Wolves' third. Two minutes later, Charlton's cup of calamities was full to overflowing when Bright was sent off for stamping on Stowell.

His manager, Alan Curbishley, said he had not seen the incident, but added: "Horrendous individual mistakes cost us this game. For Wolves to score three from four or five attempts makes it hard to take. We also wanted to avoid injuries and suspensions, but we haven't even managed that."

Wolverhampton Wanderers (3-4-1-2): Stowell; Richards (Atkins, 65), Sedgley (Simpson, 73), Curle; Muscat, C Robinson, Ferguson, Naylor; Freedman; Paatelainen, Goodman. Substitutes not used: Keane, Daley, Murray (gk).

Charlton Athletic (4-4-2): Petterson; Brown, Rufus (Allen, 73), Chapple, Bowen (Balmer, 73); Newton, Kinsella, Holmes (K Jones, 7), J Robinson; S Jones, Bright. Substitutes not used: Barness, Ilic (gk).

Referee: G Poll (Tring).

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